George Will, a controversial columnist for the Washington Post, has ignited an Internet firestorm over his comments that sexual assault victimhood is “a coveted status” on college campuses.
Will builds his argument on what he sees to be an exaggeration among progressives regarding sexual assault statistics.
Probably his most incendiary remarks, for many, were these: “They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (‘micro-aggressions,’ often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.”
He also charges the Obama administration’s “crucial and contradictory statistics” as invalid, adding:
The [reported] statistics are: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12 percent of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12 percent reporting rate is correct, the 20 percent assault rate is preposterous. Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute notes, for example, that in the four years 2009 to 2012 there were 98 reported sexual assaults at Ohio State. That would be 12 percent of 817 total out of a female student population of approximately 28,000, for a sexual assault rate of approximately 2.9 percent — too high but nowhere near 20 percent.
Using a case study as to how sexual assault cases get “exaggerated,” George Will turns to a 2013 example where a student “was in her room with a guy with whom she’d been hooking up for three months.”
“They’d now decided — mutually, she thought — just to be friends. When he ended up falling asleep on her bed, she changed into pajamas and climbed in next to him. Soon, he was putting his arm around her and taking off her clothes. ‘I basically said, “No, I don’t want to have sex with you.” And then he said, “OK, that’s fine” and stopped.. . . And then he started again a few minutes later, taking off my panties, taking off his boxers. I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything — I had already said no. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish. I pulled my panties back on and went to sleep.'”
Six weeks later, the woman reported that she had been raped. Now the Obama administration is riding to the rescue of “sexual assault” victims. It vows to excavate equities from the ambiguities of the hookup culture, this cocktail of hormones, alcohol and the faux sophistication of today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.
Well, you can imagine how well that went over with other news outlets.
“Oh good, we finally get to get rid of George Will,” said one commenter, thinking the Post will now dump him for “implying students should aspire to be sexually assaulted.”
“George Will writes about sexual assault on campus and it goes as well as you might expect,” said Politico deputy editor Blake Hounshell.
“Wow. Clearly, George Will has never been sexually assaulted,” wrote columnist Ann Friedman.
Paul Blumenthal of The Huffington Post added: “George Will: Blue jeans are evil and should be stopped, rape not such a big deal.”
You can read the entire George Will column by clicking here to see if these critics are putting words in his mouth or he’s giving them legitimate ammunition.
What do you think, readers? Is George Will right about his thoughts on sexual assault, or has he lost it?
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]